With the NFL Draft quickly approaching, it's time to change gears a bit from baseball back to football, as we'll be pretty much be NFL draft exclusive for the next 2 weeks here at the Bay Area Sports Journal. Today I just wanted to discuss a few of the names that have been thrown around as far as possibly picks for the San Francisco 49ers as they have a pair of picks in the middle of the first round.
The general consensus coming out of 49er headquarters is that the team will look to improve their offensive line with at least one of their first round selections. The are of need of course with them is at the tackle position where there are a few nice prospects who the 49ers would like to get a shot at. The top tackles available in the draft are Oklahoma State's Russel Okung, Rutgers' Anthony Davis and Iowa's Bryan Baluga. Another guy that I like as a later first round, early second round option if they decide to deal one of their picks would be USC's Charles Brown. If I were a gambling man, I'd put my money on the Niners ending up with one of those guys, most likely Davis or Brown. Besides Offensive Tackle, another position the Niners may be entertaining using one of their top picks on would be a true cover cornerback. The one guy I really like in this draft that fits that bill is Florida's Joe Haden. The only thing there is that Haden is a projected top-10 pick and the 49ers would likely have to part with the #13 pick and either a 2nd or 3rd rounder in order to move up into the top-10. Haden would be worth it though, as he really was the best cover guy in the nation last year and could turn into a Nnamdi Asomugha clone.
The Niners have also taken looks at various offensive players as well. They had a long look at Oklahoma State's star wideout Dez Bryant. The 6'2", 220 pound college star reminds scouts a lot of Niners' first round pick from last year, Michael Crabtree. Having the chance to get another guy with the talent of a Crabtree would be hard to resist, but idealy, the Niners would find a reciever with a little bit more speed to compliment Crabtree and Josh Morgan. Bryant is quick, but he's not really a down-field burner, much like Crabtree, and the Niners offense could really use a guy who could stretch the field like that. If Bryant had that type of speed, then he'd be a perfect fit for San Francisco in the middle of the first round and would definitely be worth the risk. Another couple of speed receivers later in the draft the Niners could turn to if they don't find anyone in the top 2 rounds could be Cinci's Mardy Gilyard and Notre Dame's Golden Tate.
We'll be having much more on the NFL draft here between now and next weekend, including BASJ's mock-draft and much, much more. Be sure to check us out for your 49ers and Raiders draft coverage!